Thursday, September 21st, 1939, radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C., recorded their entire broadcast day -- from sign on, to sign off.
This was before the advent of magnetic recording tape, so transcription disks were used. The overall quality of these disk recordings is good to excellent, except for a few spots of noticeable distortion. These transcriptions were transferred to tape in their entirety, except for the ommission of the evening re-broadcast of FDR's address to Congress.
You will hear everything as it was the day it was recorded -- that includes the pops and crackles, the station breaks, and the technical difficulties, along with all the music, comedy, drama, news, and advertisements that were aired on September 21st, 1939.
Let this be your guide, and your MP3 player be your time machine, as you sit back, relax, and take a trip back to those days when 15 cents would buy a hamburger, a six-pack of Coke costs a quarter, and the future was on display at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
WJSV Washington, D.C.
Thursday, September 21st, 1939
From: 05:59-06:30 -- Sign On and Sundial - Recorded Music
From: 06:30-07:00 -- Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 07:00-07:30 -- Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 07:30-08:00 -- Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 08:00-08:05 -- Arrow News
From: 08:05-08:30 -- Sundial - Arthur Godfrey
From: 08:30-08:45 -- Certified Magic Carpet
From: 08:45-09:00 -- Bachelor's Children
From: 09:00-09:15 -- Pretty Kitty Kelly
From: 09:15-09:30 -- Myrt And Marge
From: 09:30-09:45 -- Hilltop House
From: 09:45-10:00 -- Kay Fairchild, Stepmother
From: 10:00-10:15 -- CBS News and Mary Lee Taylor Program
From: 10:15-10:30 -- Brenda Curtis
From: 10:30-10:45 -- Big Sister
From: 10:45-11:00 -- Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories
From: 11:00-11:15 -- Jean Abbey
From: 11:15-11:30 -- When A Girl Marries
From: 11:30-11:45 -- The Romance Of Helen Trent
From: 11:45-12:00 -- Our Gal Sunday
From: 12:00-12:15 -- The Goldbergs
From: 12:15-12:30 -- Life Can Be Beautiful
From: 12:30-12:45 -- Road Of Life
From: 12:45-13:00 -- This Day Is Ours
From: 13:00-13:15 -- Sunshine Report
From: 13:15-13:30 -- The Life And Love Of Dr. Susan
From: 13:30-13:45 -- Your Family And Mine
From: 13:45-14:00 -- News Followed By Albert Warner
From: 14:00-15:00 -- President's Address followed by Premier Daladier
From: 15:00-15:10 -- Commentary & Analysis On The President's Address
From: 15:10-15:25 -- The Career Of Alice Blair
From: 15:25-15:30 -- Arrow News
From: 15:30-15:45 -- Rhythm & Romance
From: 15:45-16:00 -- Scattergood Baines
From: 16:00-17:17 -- Baseball - Cleveland at Washington
From: 17:17-17:30 -- The World Dances
From: 17:30-17:45 -- Arrow News followed by Time Out
From: 17:45-18:00 -- Sports With Harry McTigue
From: 18:00-18:15 -- Amos 'n' Andy
From: 18:15-18:30 -- The Parker Family
From: 18:30-19:00 -- Joe E. Brown
From: 19:00-19:30 -- Ask-It Basket
From: 19:30-19:55 -- Strange As It Seems
From: 19:55-20:00 -- Elmer Davis And The News
From: 20:00-21:00 -- Major Bowes and his Original Amateur Hour
From: 21:00-21:30 -- The Columbia Workshop
From: 21:30-22:00 -- Americans At Work
From: 22:00-22:15 -- Arrow News & Edwin C. Hill Commentary
From: 22:15-22:30 -- Streamline Interlude
From: 22:30-22:45 -- The Midweek Review With Albert Warner
From: 22:45-23:21 -- Repeat of FDR Speech
From: 23:21-23:30 -- Jerry Livingstone & His Orchestra
From: 23:30-24:00 -- Teddy Powell Orchestra
From: 00:00-00:30 -- Louis Prima Orchestra
From: 00:30-01:02 -- Bob Chester Orchestra, News & Signoff
It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.
This is the Single Episodes Page. The Non Certified Release may include extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Non Certified Release. This Single Episodes page is provided in case you want to sample the shows.Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to archive.org naming requirements.
If you are interested in preserving Old Time Radio (OTR), you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Yahoo.
Relax, listen, and enjoy!
OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that is Certified Accurate indicates that all the episodes are properly identified and labeled but that the series does not contain all known extant episodes.
OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that is Certified Complete is the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implies that all the files in the series are Certified Accurate but also indicates that the series is as complete as possible – it includes all extant episodes.
OTRR Non-Certified -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Certification process.
March 6, 2023 Subject:
Two things worth noting...
One is that Arthur Godfrey started at about 7AM because he was late getting to the studio, a frequent occurrence when he worked for WJSV early in his career.
The other is that the play-by-play man for the Senators-Cleveland game (which is joined in progress) is none other than Hall of Famer Walter Johnson, who'd spent more than two decades in the Senators organization as a pitcher and manager. 1939 was his lone season behind the mic.
Posthumous kudos to the WSJV employee (I'm betting it was the chief engineer) for turning the recorder on early and letting it run up to sign-off. The result is the one known example of a typical broadcast day at a time when radio was the most popular entertainment medium in the country.
February 27, 2013 Subject:
New Source Available
A real treasure trove.
A new source has been uploaded which is more complete, much better quality and indexed much better with every single program titled and given it's own separate file.
October 20, 2011 Subject:
This collection is a part of America's history shortly before we entered World War II.
Somehow the owner of WJSV must have known that America would soon become involved in the conflict taking place in Europe and wanted to record this day for future history. We owe a great deal of Thanks to stations like WJSV for giving us an audio sound of their current time.
August 16, 2011 Subject:
Great job! Ten stars!
Years ago I downloaded the Complete Day. The sound was not clear at all and it consisted of one hour files without any more info. This new upload is quite different. Clear sound, clear info. Now THIS is a time machine! My rating: ten stars (if possible).
March 6, 2011 Subject:
I only have praise for the OTR Reasearchers Group. Here they have made available an audio document that has been in cicularion for some time, but in much better quality than I have ever seen. Listening to this is like opening a time capsule. You get the feel of 1939 September a day shortly after the beginning of WWII. Some of it is business as usual, an attempt to retain the innocence of the decade, and there is even a baseball game!